The VSTE Board of Directors and Conference Committee are excited to have you join us at the 32nd Annual Technology in Education Conference. #VSTE17 promises to be the best ever.

Use the schedule to plan your conference. VSTE will NOT be providing a printed copy of the schedule so if you prefer paper, please print your own. If you create an account with sched.com, you can save and share your favorites as well as print a personalized schdule.

IMPORTANT: While we encourage you to save and share, indicating interest in a session DOES NOT guarantee a seat in a session. All sessions, with the exception of Promethean’s Escape Room, are first come, first served. 
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Sunday, December 3 • 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Designing, Coding, and Building Scientific Instruments for Field-Based Inquiry

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Many scientists design their own field-based instruments to study unique conditions in ever-changing environments. This ethos of scientific “making” is neglected in most secondary science classrooms. Learn how a first year teacher introduced custom-designed instruments (microcontroller-based) for his Earth and Environmental Science students. His citizen scientists coded and constructed their own devices to collect, record, and analyze data about their waterways, weather patterns, and urban agricultural systems. Their iterative process of designing, troubleshooting, refining, and testing helped students grow in ways not typically assessed on standardized tests.

Come and discover what this innovative teacher did to make science meaningful and engaging using inexpensive microcontrollers and sensors. Attendees will receive instructions for replicating each project as well as explore personal insights about designing microcontroller-based instruments.

Project 1: Acting like budding meteorologists, earth science students form Monticello High School wired, built, and coded their own Arduino-based weather stations. Their completed devices measured atmospheric temperature, humidity, pressure, and altitude throughout Albemarle County and autonomously stored all of the data using onboard storage media. After retrieving the weather stations from the field, students analyzed their data sets by comparing what was collected to observed weather patterns and graphing the results in Google Sheets. Through this project-based learning experience, students learned the relevant material required to pass the state test while, at the same time, learning the lifelong skills of coding, wiring and the engineering design process.

Project 2: Two AP Environmental Science students designed a device to test the water chemistry of the Rivanna River in Albemarle County as a final class project. Their goal was to assess changes in the river’s water chemistry after heavy rainfall to assess the impact of water run-off from man-made construction sites. Working collaboratively with experts in technology, science, and water conservation, the two high schoolers built a device that measured the Rivanna’s pH, dissolved oxygen, electrical conductivity, and temperature autonomously for long periods of time. The students spent two months designing, building and researching their Water Analysis Station and, along the way, learned important lessons about engineering design and large-scale projects.

Project 3: Students in an after school Beekeeping Club implemented a monitoring device to study the conditions that impact hive activity and health. Club members tracked humidity and temperature levels within the hive and compared the readings to the conditions outside of the hive. The final monitoring station ran on the school’s WiFi network and concurrently displayed live data on the Beekeeping Club’s website.

avatar for Chris Stanek

Chris Stanek

Teacher, Monticello High School

Sunday December 3, 2017 12:45pm - 1:45pm EST
Roanoke H